Give New Life to Salvaged Wood

Give New Life to Salvaged Wood

Unlocking the Hidden Potential of Campus Trees

As I stroll through the lush, tree-lined campus of the University of Washington, I can’t help but marvel at the beauty that surrounds me. These towering giants have stood tall for decades, providing shade, character, and a sense of history to the university. But what happens when a tree’s journey on campus comes to an end?

Well, my friends, that’s where the incredible Salvage Wood Program steps in. This innovative initiative, run by the Facilities Services Grounds Management team, is giving new life to the very trees that once adorned the university grounds. As the program’s coordinator, Sara Shores, explains, “When tree removal is necessary on campus, one of the best ways to use the wood is to make it into something new.”

From Stumps to Stunning Creations

Imagine my excitement when I learned that these campus treasures aren’t just being turned into mulch or wood chips. Instead, they’re being transformed into beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture and decor that will continue to grace the university for years to come.

Steve Valentine, a skilled carpenter with the Facilities Services team, is the mastermind behind this process. Using a state-of-the-art lumber mill funded by the Campus Sustainability Fund, he meticulously cuts and shapes the salvaged wood into benches, tables, and other stunning creations.

But it’s not just the final products that captivate me – it’s the stories behind them. As the university’s landscape architect, Kristine Kenney, so eloquently puts it, “What I really like about the salvage wood program in particular is the furniture made from these trees tell a story. We know where the wood came from, the species of tree, and its former location on campus, and that story and the legacy of the University is carried on for future generations to enjoy in a new way.”

Repurposing with Purpose

The Salvage Wood Program isn’t just about creating beautiful pieces – it’s about sustainability, waste reduction, and preserving the university’s rich history. Before the program’s inception, trees that needed to be removed were simply cut into chunks and added to the compost pile. But now, as Shores explains, “The wood is diverted and made into something with new life.”

This commitment to sustainability is especially evident in the university’s approach to the upcoming North Campus Student Housing project. Kenney shares that the project will require dozens of trees to be removed from the area surrounding McCarty Hall, but the intention is to “recreate the wooded environment characteristic of this part of campus.” And where do those trees go? Straight into the Salvage Wood Program, of course!

Giving Back to the Community

But the Salvage Wood Program isn’t just about breathing new life into campus trees – it’s also about giving back to the community. As Shores mentions, the program started with a request from a community member to create a log bench for a local restoration project. And the team at the University of Washington didn’t hesitate to lend a hand.

In fact, the Salvage Wood Program is a true collaboration between the Facilities Services carpenters and the local projects team of the UW chapter of Engineers Without Borders. Together, they’re not only creating beautiful pieces for the university, but they’re also sharing their expertise and resources with the surrounding community.

Unlocking the Potential of Salvaged Wood

As I reflect on the Salvage Wood Program, I can’t help but feel inspired. These campus trees, once destined for the compost pile, are now being transformed into stunning works of art that will continue to grace the university for generations to come.

And the best part? This program isn’t just limited to the University of Washington. Timber building and woodworking companies like ours are also embracing the power of salvaged wood, unlocking its hidden potential and creating beautiful, sustainable products that tell a story.

So, the next time you see a tree being removed, don’t despair. Instead, take a moment to imagine the incredible possibilities that lie within that humble stump. With a little creativity and a lot of passion, we can give new life to salvaged wood and create something truly remarkable.


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